Workshop: Integrating Contemporary World Music Into Our Teaching

WHEN: Friday October 8th, 2021, 10:00 AM

WHERE: 4640 Menaul Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87110

Music learning is not just getting the right rhythm, beat, and techniques. My job as a teacher is to help my students find their way through the realities of the world so that they manifest their unique purpose. And I found contemporary music has been an aid to serve that purpose. For every lesson, the combination of standard and “new” repertoire – repertoire that could help students master the gap to standard music literature, like Bach Well-Tempered Clavier, Beethoven Sonatas, or even Chopin Etudes – may help a student to overcome such an experience and moreover, stay motivated. Rediscovering contemporary literature can help students attain a deeper understanding of different musical styles, especially those composers “bridging” the turn of the century, such as Charles Ives. Rediscovering music that is not often performed may help to maximize motivation while allowing for greater structure and exposure when approaching standard repertoire. Traditional music literature is heavily Western-centered and male-dominated, and we found many more styles and resources that were bloomed during the time of 20th century. Those composers were not only synthesis the language and artistic values from the predecessors but also addressing their own intuitive responses to society. This session will increase awareness and understanding of contemporary music because it reflects the values of today’s society. The presentation will introduce pieces by American pioneer Charles Ives, African-American composer Leslie Adams, female South African composer Jeanne Zaidel-Rudolph, and more.


Dr. Yi-Yang Chen shot onto the international stage with back-to-back victories in the 2018 Sussex International Piano Competition, 2017 Washington International Competition, and the Waring International Piano Competition. The Worthing Herald music critic Richard Amey praised his recent performance “flair for the unusual and his technical and artistic capacity to deliver,” as well as his “musical and emotional intelligence, dexterity and virtuosity,” listening to Chen as soloist in Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto No.5 “Egyptian” with the Worthing Symphony Orchestra. His vibrant playing at the Pacific International Piano Competition (Canada) was recognized by the judges, who selected him for the first prize (“…Yi-Yang showed an impressive breadth of emotional investment and natural affinity for the music he played. The informed individuality and command of his performance was immediately compelling to the judges. We feel this young man has a fine future as an artist. He seems to ‘own’ the piano as he plays, and this makes his performance extremely powerful” – Dr. Robin McCabe).

Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Chen has been playing the piano since the age of 8. Yi-Yang completed his Doctor of Musical Arts And Bachelor’s of Music at the Eastman School of Music with Douglas Humpherys, and his Master’s degree at The Juilliard School with Robert McDonald and Jerome Lowenthal. He also has solo/chamber masterclasses with Itzhak Perlman, Emanuel Ax, Daniel Pollack, Joseph Kalichstein, Glenn Dicterow, Thomas Sauer, and with members from the Cleveland, Shanghai, Borromeo, Brentano, Ying, and Guarneri String Quartets.

Yi-Yang has captivated audiences worldwide with his flamboyant playing. He has performed on five continents in acclaimed venues, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center in New York, Melbourne Recital Centre, National Concert Hall in Taipei, Banff Music Centre in Canada, ZK Matthews Great Hall in South Africa, and the Assembly Hall in Worthing, UK, with such orchestras as the Worthing Symphony Orchestra, Brevard Music Center Orchestra, Avanti Orchestra, Eastman Philharmonic Orchestra, National Chinese Orchestra, and the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra. He has appeared at the Perlman Music Festival, Taos School of Music Summer Chamber Music Festival, Banff Music Centre, Music Academy of the West, Four Seasons Winter Workshop, and Brevard Music Center.

A wealth of experience enables Chen to become an outstanding teacher and performer. As the winner of the 2012 MTNA National Young Artist Piano Competition, Chen was given a Steinway piano and two concerts in Miami sponsored by the Chopin Foundation (USA) as his prize. In a review of his 2017 solo recital at Carnegie Weill Hall, New York Concert Review wrote, “He negotiated this difficult work with what appeared to be the greatest of ease. The passagework was sparkling, and the energy never flagging. Mr. Chen held the line and momentum throughout, challenges which many players struggle with in this work […]. It was a powerhouse performance. His bold, take-no- holds approach was all that one hopes for in this work. It is a high-risk proposition that demands a large technique, and Mr. Chen delivered. I’ve heard many performances of this sonata, and Mr. Chen’s ranks among the best. “ Chen also received top prizes at the Hilton Head International Piano Competition, American Prize (Professional Division), UNISA International Piano Competition (South Africa), Kerikeri International Piano Competition (New Zealand), Seattle International Piano competition, Thailand International Piano Competition, San Jose International Piano Competition, Roberto Melini International Piano Competition (Italy), Five Towns Piano Competition, Schubert Club Competition, Thousand Islands International Piano Competition, and Chopin International Piano Competition in Hartford.

Yi-Yang Chen is a member of the Music Teachers National Association, College Music Society, and Mu Phi Epsilon. He enjoys swimming, biking, traveling, and composing. Yi-Yang is currently working on a recording project with Champs Hill label (UK); the release is scheduled for 2022-2023. Before joining KU (University of Kansas), Yi-Yang has served on the faculty at East Tennessee State University and is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Appalachian Music Festival & Competition.